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OK, so because of an unfortunate accident, fuzzywolly's thread "The Fading Glock" was deleted and I believe that this is relevant and important enough to make a new thread about it. Moderators if you do not like this feel free to delete. However this applies to everyone and I think that every one should learn about this.

This is Taken from the Airsoft Outlet NW homepage.

URL:http://www.airsoftoutletnw.com/index.php/Industry-SITREP/The-State-of-the-Airsoft-Industry.html

"When you meet someone new and try to explain to them what Airsoft is, what do you say?

* "Airsoft..." are those clear spring guns to shoot vermin with
* is just another game my friends and I play in the backyard
* is like Paintball
* is Military Simulation
* is a training tool

Regardless of what you say, the fact of the matter is that our humble Airsoft industry is slowly emerging into the limelight and is attracting a lot of attention, not only from the media and general public, but from the firearms industry as well. Granted, some may look at this as a "coming of age" for Airsoft while others see it as trouble on the horizon.

One reason why I'm cautious to embrace this sudden popularity is because of the firearms industry. Gun manufacturers are beginning to take heed to Airsoft's rise in popularity; not only has Glock nixed the entire market of their replicas, but now Heckler & Koch is slapping retailers and distributors that carry HK replicas (in particular the G36 series) with Trade Dress violations. If you haven't noticed already, the CA36 from Classic Army, KWA's KG36, and the Echo1 X36 are becoming harder to find. The only company that is selling HK AEG's is Ares, who buys the license from UMAREX. In a nutshell, HK is on a legal warpath against Airsoft retailers and distributors (source) and is forcing companies through UMAREX, which sells lower quality replicas. Heckler & Koch has every right to do this, but we hope that Classic Army, KWA, and Echo1 can come to an agreement with HK. Otherwise the US market may be stuck with another Cybergun-esque company that charges a ridiculous amount for a marginal G36 replica.

Another rumor that is turning heads in the Airsoft industry is that FN Herstal may also pursue Trademark/Trade Dress violations against retailers and distributors. Which means that in 2010 we may see limited availability on SCAR's, the unreleased FN2000, and P90 replicas.

What escapes me is how Glock, Heckler & Koch, and FN Herstal do not grasp the fundamental flaw of going after their own customers. They shouldn't consider the Airsoft industry as a competitor, but an investment. These manufacturers should look at the relationship that Hot Wheels and Chevrolet have and embrace Airsoft as something that can benefit them. How can they fail to see the immense marketing opportunity in Airsoft? Do they not realize that an adolescent is more likely to purchase a familiar brand when they're older? (i.e. when they can purchase a real firearm)

"Marketers plant the seeds of brand recognition in very young children, in the hopes that the seeds will grow into lifetime relationships." (Media Awarness) We have already seen many individuals who, when shopping for a first handgun, or a first rifle, or a new AR15, prefer the models and companies that they're familiar with. When a young man who has used a glock Airsoft replica for years turns 21 he will look first at Glock handguns because he is already familiar with the controls, function, and feel of these handguns. As long as firearm and parts manufacturers take care to associate with high quality replica companies, their name and brand image will only be enhanced by the additional exposure.

Firearm and firearm component manufacturers have every right to ensure that their name is not being infringed upon, but instead of looking at Airsoft as the enemy they should consider it an ally. The firearms companies that are doing it right are MAGPUL, Stag Arms, Noveske, JP-Enterprises, Barrett, Gemtech, PWS, LWRCI, B&T, Arsenal, Armalite, SAR, Steyr, and Daniel Defense; these brands have pursued agreements with high quality Airsoft manufacturers without charging an exorbitant amount of money for their name.

Although I personally own and love DPMS and SIG SAUER firearms, their laizzes-faire approach to licensing allows Cybergun to charge a price inflating premium to any company for the use of S&W, UZI, DPMS, Taurus, et al. Though Cybergun currently has the license to use these trademarks, their tactic of branding the cheapest replicas possible does not reflect well on Airsoft in general or the original firearm manufacturers.

Firearms manufacturers should look at MAGPUL for an example of an effective and profitable way to handle the Airsoft industry. As far as I can tell, MAGPUL is the first company to see the potential in Airsoft and fully embrace it. When they heard that A&K was manufacturing the MASADA they didn't completely shut them down, but licensed the product at a reasonable rate. Additionally, MAGPUL manufactures many of their own products specifically for the Airsoft market. This two pronged tactic of pursuing illegal replicas while producing and licensing a full line of authorized products has many benefits. Airsoft players, firearms enthusiasts, and law enforcement agencies all benefit from having quality parts available, while MAGPUL maintains their reputation for quality, and turns a profit in doing so.

I have mixed feelings on Airsoft's increasing popularity for a other reasons as well. The most obvious is because of Airsoft Outlet Northwest's recent ordeal with the ATF over the WE TTI M4. Although this incident is still a part of an ongoing ATF investigation, it does show that Government intervention is a very real threat to the industry. In New Jersey, Airsoft players are currently looking at legislation that proposes classifying Airsoft guns as Firearms thereby subjugating Airsoft to New Jersey's strict laws regulating the sale, possession, and use of Firearms (source). Not too long ago Beaverton, Oregon proposed a city wide ban on Airsoft and had legislation ready to be pushed through, but thankfully several members in the Airsoft community stepped forward and met legislators half way and turned the bill into more of a common sense law prohibiting Airsoft guns from City Parks, Schools, etc (Beaverton Airsoft Code). This proactive approach shows that players can have an impact, and legislators are willing to listen, but someone has to be willing to talk to them.

As the previous example shows, Airsoft does not have to be a fringe industry. With proper input from players, retailers, and other industry members, the increasing popularity and visibility of Airsoft can benefit the sport. If we are available to educate and give input to cities and other agencies, any laws which are made will be reasonable and helpful. A continued effort to stay out of the limelight will eventually fail. Players have created small, local organizations which allow each group to set their own rules and gives individuals their independence. However, these organizations do not have the influence or infrastructure to stand against injustice like the WE TTI M4 seizure by the ATF. When a FOX News correspondent called Airsoft Outlet NW about the ATF seizure, he had no idea what the sport was about and asked, "Is there a national Airsoft organization I can get in contact with?"

We all need to start thinking about the concept of a national organization. It shouldn't be a group that tries to regulate FPS limits or game play rules, but one that is based around information sharing, public relations, and organizing defenses against attacks on the industry. Paintball has several national leagues, why shouldn't Airsoft have something similar? An organization that is able to provide independent, objective information to lawmakers and other government agencies, as well as to individuals interested in the sport, would provide a greater level of safety to the sport. It's time to get on your boards and start discussing what you think the right path is, because no one entity can do this by themselves. It's going to take the American Airsoft industry as a whole, from the player to the distributor, to find a common ground and come together. The more we talk about a National Airsoft Organization and its composition the more likely it will become a useful and beneficial reality."

Martin, Benjamin. "The State of the Airsoft Industry." Online posting. Airsoft Outlet NW. N.p., 27 Apr. 2010. Web. 20 May 2010. <http://www.airsoftoutletnw.com/index.php/Industry-SITREP/The-State-of-the-Airsoft-Industry.html>.

This means that Glock has taken all of the Airsoft Glock replicas off the market due to copyright laws and H&K has also been clamping down on the airsoft industry too. As mentioned in the above article they are forcing all the replicas through Umarex a notoriously lower quality company than people like E1, TM, CA, G&G or SRC. So for you G36, MP5, MP7 and PSG1 owners out there hang on to them they could be worth alot at some point, and if your looking to get one, DO IT NOW! The market for those replicas is in for a bumpy ride.
 

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This is very very interesting. Plus 1 for this find :) My friend got his echo g36 just in time :) Thought about selling my glock at one point, but now I am definitely going to hang on to it.
 

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Have you been on Umarexs site. unfortunatly they sell crap guns for 100-150 but the also sell some great aegs. Alot of High-end companys OEM for them. The GBBr are nice to I have the KWA HK MP7A1 and Im glad it went through umarex because now it has nice trades.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, but Umarex is a double edged sword, now instead of companies just making the replicas, they have to buy their license from Umarex who charges an exorbitant price for the license and buys their license from Heckler and Koch who charges Umarex exorbitant amounts of money for their license.
 
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